Systemic Design Pedagogy and Education

 

Teaching Design for Democracy.

Birger Sevaldson and Linda Blaasvær

Thursday 15:30. Room A2.

Design for Democracy
Systems Oriented Design
Education
 

This proposal reports on a new studio course at the Oslo School of Architecture and Design (AHO), started in autumn semester in 2016. The course will be repeated in autumn 2017 and in the coming years. The aim is to slowly develop pedagogic approaches and a curriculum for teaching Design for Democracy. 

The proposal will present the course briefly and we wish to spend time on discussions and input to how to develop it further. It is important for us to present this work in progress, share our experiences and to have ideas and input as well as criticism so that we can develop it better in the coming runs. At the time of presentation, we will be in the middle of the second run of the course and we will be able to present our resent experiences. The course is a master level studio. Its length corresponds with 24 ETCS duration is one semester. 

The course is suitable for all sub-domains in design like service and product design, interaction design, design management and other new fields of design like organization, strategy, policy etc. It is also relevant for architecture, urbanism and landscape architecture. The course ranges from micro to macro scale and students can develop and choose their perspective. 
Systems Oriented Design (SOD) is the integrated bases of this course. 

We are experiencing major unrest in the world; democratic values are at stake, people fleeing from their homes and from war. Many nations are heading towards democracy but it is a cumbersome way forward. The party systems is under stress. Even established democracies are struggling. Norway is not an exception when it comes to the need for better participation and accountability of voters and citizens in general. The representative democratic systems’ inherent reinforcement of short-term perspectives together with the complexity of the driving processes makes it very difficult for citizens to voice long-term considerations and to know how to claim participation. Local dialogic democracy is underdeveloped compared to the major tasks that communities are confronted with. These range from sustainability to economic development and integration. 
Work place democracy is under pressure. The neo-liberalist wave of the late last century, new economies and cultural changes have weakened the labor unions, their influence and their power. 

Inequality is rising globally while the sense of fairness is crumbling. These are corner stones of functioning democratic societies. 
On the other hand, design has a long tradition of developing processes from a democratic perspective. Universal Design and Participatory Design processes are examples of this. In addition, designer have been involved in democracy in designing voting processes and information distribution for a long time. 
However, design for democracy can be developed further. Can we, through design, envision and describe a future that supports a balanced distribution of power, values, and resources? Can we contribute to building democratic cultures and lowering the threshold for participation in democratic processes? Can we design processes that make it easier to think long term and through this encourage sustainable development? Can we, through the design of our surroundings help the emergence of democratic organizations? 

The theme Design for Democracy seeks innovation to support democratic processes in small and large scale. Democracy is under pressure and there is no guarantee that democracy will prevail without a comprehensive effort to protect and develop democratic processes. This effort for developing democracy may in many ways, be perceived as a design process, and designers have a lot to contribute. 
In our age where the Internet has made it possible to reach out with ones opinions and where Democracy 2.0 has been relevant for a while, it is important with an effort to find out how designers can help. 
The theme may involve a number of areas and issues where design can be a crucial factor: 

– How to convey democratic history? – 
– How to help people to vote for their long-term interests? 
– How to make discussions of sustainability more accessible? 
– How to vote on behalf of others, your children, grandchildren, future generations or others who cannot vote? (Agency) 
– How Designing voting process as an interactive service? 
– How Reveal / uncover and communicate processes that undermine democracy? 
– How to fight for democracy? (Activism) What is the role of digital media in the ongoing popular uprisings? 
– How to build democratic cultures? 
– How to design our environment, cities, architecture and nature in democratic processes and democratic expression? 
– How designing new democratic arenas? 
– Networks, Technology and mobile phones as the venue for Democracy 2.0. 
– Design for variety, tolerance and integration. 
– Crowd Sourcing. (Self-organizing systems) 
– How can design fight oversimplified solutions and populism? 
– How can design make economic processes transparent? 

System Thinking is a foundation to develop a deeper understanding of sustainability, ethics, culture and society, and to develop the understanding of communication, technology and innovation. Students will gain a general understanding of systems thinking and especially on SOD. They will develop skills in adaptive expertise, Very Rapid Learning, collaborative processes and participatory design. 

The course is principally political neutral. However, understanding society including power structures are necessary in this study. 
Ethical considerations are important and we think that social systems should not oppress and marginalize any participant or citizen nor do harm to non-humans. 
We do not think that design can fix problems easily. We do not think every change does need long-term commitment but we think change is a continuous process. It is a misunderstanding to focus on processes of change like if they would be different and separate of an imagined normal state of no change. We do not believe in the traditional designer role, providing plans for people for them to implement. The best we can do is to use our designerly creativity to suggest actions that might trigger new directions in the flux of society. We therefor think of this project in the framework of versioning and iterations. The design activity is an integrated part of this ongoing flux.

In line with this position, the suggested design interventions need to take these issues in account and demonstrate how they might evolve into new versions, how they will work and might develop independently after the designers have left the field.


 
 
The School of System Change: Designing a learning system as a system change endeavor
 
Corina Angheloiu, Laura Winn and Anna Birney
 
Thursday 16:00. Room A2.
 
System change
Education
Learning systems
Community of practice
Design thinking
 

Context 

The Western education system has long been diagnosed as not fit for purpose for a post-Industrial Revolution world. Since the 1980s, attention has turned to the evolution of design education as exemplary of thinking and learning processes which enable future practitioners to deal with complex problems and uncertainty (Lawson, 1980). This has led to the development of design thinking as a field and the advent of ‘designerly ways of knowing’ (Cross 1982). Cognitive psychologists have argued that these represent the interplay between binary processes of convergent thinking (which asks ‘what comes next in this logical sequence?’) and divergent thinking (which asks ‘what might this mean?’); of rational, deductive thinking and intuitive, open-ended processes of thinking (Lawson 1980). 
On the other hand, sustainability educators have called for ‘the necessary transformation of higher education towards the integrative and more whole state implied by a systemic view of sustainability in education and society’ (Sterling, 2004). New approaches to problem solving and problem setting are required to enable fundamental change at every level of society if we are to tackle interconnected “wicked-problems” such as climate change, biodiversity loss and inequality (Worldwatch Institute 2013, Capra and Luisi 2014). 
Over the last decade, calls for ‘earth-literate leaders’ (Martin and Jucker 2005) have intensified given the recognition of the complexity and interconnectedness of sustainability issues which span beyond the triple-bottom line of social, environmental and financial systems and are closely intertwined with issues of governance, decision-making (Adams et. al 2017) and ultimately, with seeing sustainability as the ‘ability to sustain ourselves’ (Birney, 2015). 
But how to achieve such a transformation? 
Across formal education disciplines the teacher-centred pedagogy is still the dominant paradigm. Students and teachers still follow the learning patterns of the apprentice – master power dynamic (Souleles 2017). This is in antithesis to notions of empathy, the ability to develop deep human-centred understanding, to adopt different viewpoints and to develop a mutual understanding. However, these capabilities are key to equipping future generations of ‘earth-literate’ practitioners and leaders. 

New challenges, new ways of learning: The School of System Change 

Forum for the Future, an international non-profit working with business, government and civil society to solve complex sustainability issues, has been a pioneer in this field by setting up the first ever Masters for Sustainable Leadership in partnership with Middlesex University. By 2015, after 20 years of running the Masters course, over 150 students went on to become successful sustainability leaders. Recognising the challenges pointed out above, we set off to redesign the Masters programme, guided by the following inquiry questions: 
How might we equip people with the capabilities to lead system change initiatives addressing complex sustainability issues? 
How might we grow a global community of practice connecting existing networks of ‘change agents’ who want to shift whole systems? 
How might we intently design a learning system which doesn’t reinforce the prevalent master – apprentice dynamic? 
Our long term vision is to create a global community of practice (Wenger, 2010) for people who are catalysing the system-level change we need to achieve a sustainable future. 
The School of System Change will: 
equip people with the capabilities to lead system change initiatives addressing complex sustainability challenges 
offer flexible access to the best learning experiences, tools, and case studies from the field of system change 
grow a global community of practice by connecting existing networks of ‘change agents’ who want to shift whole systems. 
We are calling the people who benefit from the School and who join our community, ‘change agents’, as they will be working to create change the world over. The ultimate outcome of the School will be the impact of the work that these change agents go on to do – finding ways forward on a range of global problems across the economy, the environment and society. 

Prototyping a learning system: Basecamp#1 

We are taking a system change approach to our own endeavour, through building an emergent strategy towards our vision as we go along; trying out different approaches that deliver change in their own right, but enable us to understand the ecosystems and markets (geographies and communities) we are entering into; and growing the necessary “connective tissue” to run the School effectively and build relationships to create development capital, market reach, delivery capacity and a sustainable viable operational and financial model over the long-term. 
Basecamp#1 is a successful pilot learning experience, and also a “test bed” for the community of practice we want to build, bringing together participants and contributors from different parts of the world and enabling them to learn together and support their work facilitating systemic change for sustainability on an ongoing basis. 

Early findings from running the pilot have shown us that, to deliver the wider impact we are aiming for, participants (and contributors) need support to continue to develop their skills, experience and network. 

Indicative bibliography: 

Birney, A. (2014). Cultivating System Change: A Practitioner’s Companion (1 edition). DoSustainability. 
Cross, N. (1982). Designerly ways of knowing. Design Studies, 3(4), 221–227. 
Lawson, B. (2005). How Designers Think (4 edition). Amsterdam: Routledge. 
Martin, S., & Jucker, R. (2005). Educating Earth-literate Leaders. Journal of Geography in Higher Education, 29(1), 19–29. 
Sterling, S. (2004) ‘Higher education, sustainability and the role of systemic learning’, in Corcoran, P.B. and Wals, A. E. J. (eds) Higher Education and the Challenge of Sustainability: Problematics, Promise, and Practice, Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, 47-70. 
Sterling, S. (2001) Sustainable Education—Re-Visioning Learning and Change (Dartington: Green Books). 
Souleles, N. (2017). SOCIAL CHALLENGES VERSUS TEACHER-CENTRED PEDAGOGIES. Retrieved from https://www.academia.edu/32422621/SOCIAL_CHALLENGES_VERSUS_TEACHER-CENTRED_PEDAGOGIES 
Wenger, E. (2010). Communities of Practice and Social Learning Systems: the Career of a Concept. In C. Blackmore (Ed.), Social Learning Systems and Communities of Practice (pp. 179–198). London: Springer London.


 
 
Using Giga Mapping in Systems-Oriented Design Education.
 
Eunki Chung
 
Thursday 16:30. Room A2.
 
Giga-mapping
Systems-Oriented Design
Conceptual Models
Things
Design Education
 

Through series of Giga mapping (Sevalsdon, B. 2011) posters produced at a graduate level design seminar course at SCAD (Savannah College of Art and Design), I aim to discuss the application of Giga mapping approach in teaching systems thinking to design students. 

The assignment was a three-week project asking students create i) 1,000 words non-fictional essay of a thing’s narrative as non-human actants (Latour, B, 1992) (Tonkinwise, C, 2006) and ii) a Giga map illustrating the thing’s interrelationships in the developed narrative. Giga mapping paper and online resources at Systems Oriented Design (http://www.systemsorienteddesign.net/) were introduced to students prior to the assignment. All students were pursuing M.A. or M.F.A. in Industrial Design or Design Management, and have at least 2 years of professional design or design-related practice. 

In the poster session, I plan to give details of the assignment, showcase selected students’ works (attached), share student’s reactions to the assignments, and facilitate a conversation to advance systems-oriented design education. Based on the poster session outcome in RSD6, I wish to develop a collaborative research/paper with AHO and other Giga mapping using institutions and researchers.


 
 
Systemic Design Master Development.
 
Patrice Ceccarini
 
Thursday 17:00. Room A2
 

Our presentation gives an overview of the design methods in architectural systemic design (or systemic design in general) developed by a team of researchers-teachers of the Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture de Paris Val de Seine. We will briefly expose some key notions for giving an understanding to the specificity of our approach such as the concept of “architectural affordance », as well as another important concept of our design methodology that we call architectural profiling.

Finally, to illustrate our design processes, we will show some samples of interesting cases developed by students in their Master’s diploma studies.


 

Teaching Team Work in Systems Oriented Design.

Andreas Wettre and Birger Sevaldson

Friday 11:00. Room A3.

Systems Oriented Design
Therapy
Team work
 

Systems oriented design (SOD) is rooted in systems thinking. SOD is considered one approach of Systemic Design. Systems thinking is also representing a way of approaching therapy as one of its specific applications. Many of the approaches in management have emerged from the knowledge developed in and around therapy. The way to look at an individual or a group of people as a system is one of them. Systems thinking helps where a traditional root-cause analysis fail to give us the necessary understanding. 

In a 7 weeks bachelor studio course at the Oslo School of Architecture and Design Systems Oriented Design was the main approach and topic. The students were working in teams with a complex task with a company as partner. The company is developing and marketing solutions for charging of electrical vehicles. The brief given from the company was to develop new charging solutions. Such design teams are systems in their own right. This is realized both by second order cybernetics and by for example the three dimensional model of Lurås (Lurås, 2016). In our work with the educational program at AHO we wanted to create a higher understanding by combining SOD and systems thinking applied to team and individuals. The teams were constructed to ensure that all teams had individuals representing product-, interaction- and service design. 

As the students developed their understanding and ability to map the systems around charging electrical cars we wanted them to use the same kind of thinking to understanding the team dynamics and how each individual is affected by the team, and how the individual behavior affected the team’s ability to move towards the goal of utilizing the diversity. The CMM theory (Barnett Pearce og Vernon Cronen 1980) describes how any communication is happening in a system of contexts, and in a team we create a common social world when communicating. The co-creation of a common understanding of the contexts is essential to grasp the complexity and create breakthrough design. 

We started out by letting the team define their purpose. Creating a common and deep understanding of the team’s purpose is proven by Bang & Midelfart (2012) to be essential to a management team´s performance. We have lots of experience, from business consultancy, using SOD´s GIGAmapping to create a common understanding in the team of the complexity within it is to fulfill its purpose. A team of designers that is set to create a design utilizing the diversity in the team faces most of the challenges a management team will face. Such as agreeing on the teams purpose, communicating within the same context, knowing when a topic is raised how they as a team and individuals can add value, stopping each other when distracting the discussion, being curious at the others and not fighting for one own view etc. 

Gigamapping works well allowing the team not to follow a structured approach, but rather an unstructured discussion going from one context to the next and back again. This unstructured discussion helps everybody grasping the holistic perspective of the complexity. The unstructured discussion is also crucial when design teams or other management teams work with complex (wicked) problems. Typical for such work is that predefined briefs are unsuitable to use. The projects tend to have an open-ended nature where issues are explored during the projects and learning is integrated in the process. 

To deepen the understanding of the purpose the team members where challenged to understand how we can look at one person as a system, linked to his/her surroundings where changes in the internal system (behavior) will affect changes in the external system (team?) and vice a versa. We used “Social constructionism” and Kenneth Gergen´s perspective on reality being constructed in relations and nothing is considered real before we agree that it is (Kenneth Gergen “Realities and Relationships” 1997). 

As a tool to improve communication around reality, common purpose and how to use task conflicts to create better solutions, we examined Chris Argyris´ Ladder of Inference (The Ladder of Inference was first put forward by organizational psychologist Chris Argyris and used by Peter Senge in The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization.) This concept helps us understand how our assumptions are formed and that being part of a system will influence how we filter information and form assumptions and being curious on other´s assumptions will open for new insight. 

There are many similarities in using mapping techniques to understand systems in SOD and understanding our own and our fellow team member´s assumptions and behaviors. Developing skills in using the right questions at the right time is essential in both cases. To dig more into this, we trained on dialogue using the four main elements of a) believing that you can learn from your fellow team members b) respect even when disagreeing c) exploring different views and d) build on each other. The basic idea is to use task conflict in a constructive way; exploring different views will generate better solutions. To create the right atmosphere we were using Karl Tomm´s categorization of questions, starting with the fact oriented questions before moving into relational questions, to hypothetical questions before ending up with the more strategic, leading questions (Interventive Interviewing: Part 111. Intending to Ask Lineal, Circular, Strategic, or Reflexive Questions?* 
KARL TOMM, M.D.t 1988). 

To understand group dynamics and organizational behavior even better, we used Stacey´s theories about the complexity of organization and how the old dominant logic fail in trying to plan up front and not considering the relational knowledge that will emerge (Solsø & Thorup, Ledelse i kompleksitet 2015 ). We wanted the students to use the learning from the emerging design project and adapt that also to the emerging competence and diversity in the team – to help the team make the right decisions and develop innovative design. 

The sub-goal of the project is to make designers understand that the team is a system itself and understanding the individuals and team dynamics will help creating new design, where harmony is not necessarily an aim, and where conflict might be productive. A high performing team has the ability of using task conflicts to create better design without creating relational conflicts. We wanted them to use many of the same methods as they use in design and apply them to team development. We hoped that their ability to understand team dynamics and their own role in the team as a system would increase by using many of the same methods they use in understanding the different possible solutions in design. 

We believe that the teamwork perspectives presented here also are relevant for building functioning democratic cultures on a larger scale. 

In the presentation, we will discuss the reported experiences from the students.


 
 
Open-ended Design as Second-order Design. A case study of teaching Cybernetics and System Thinking to Industrial Design students.
 
Francesca Ostuzzi, Walter Dejonghe and Jan Detand
 
Friday 11:30. Room A3.
 
Open-ended Design
Cybernetics
Second-order Design
Industrial Design
Education
 

Design can be seen as the process of creation of what is not there, and what is ought to be [7]. One of the main problems of this complex process is the gap that is created between the design space and the real context of use [3]. To cover this gap, a constant conversation is needed, between all possible stakeholders of the design process itself. Thanks to this conversation, which can be seen as Second-order Cybernetics, the actors learn about what conserves and what changes in the designed solution thanks to the context/environment [2], which can also be defined as re-appropriation [8]. This conversation can occur only in time and in the real context of use. To facilitate the conditions for this conversation to happen, which is ultimately a design act done by others, a second-order design is advocated [2][4]. The definition by Dubberly et al. of second-order design as “[The signage system] is never completely finished, never completely specified, never completely imagined. It is forever open.” closely resembles the definition of Open-ended Design as outcome of the design process that is “able to change, according to the changing context. Open-ended Design, can also be defined as suboptimal, error-friendly [6], unfinished, Wabi Sabi, contextual, context-dependent and is characterized by its inner flexibility due to the voluntary incomplete definition of its features, also defined as its Imperfection.” [9]. 

In this paper, we describe a case study of teaching Cybernetics and System Thinking design to Industrial Design Engineering students. The course, given to 3rd year students, is project-based [5] and focuses on small communities. The goal of the course is to let the students interact with the community and, by the constant use of functional prototypes and observations of the occurring interactions, try to start a self-sustaining process. The described year edition is about compost, both aerobic and anaerobic. Specifically, we focus this paper on an experiment where the students’ learning process was supported by the adoption of Open-ended Design Solutions. 

The flow of the experiment is as follows. 
• Every student received a case study where specific strategies for Open-ended Design are adopted in commonly used industrial products. 
• (Task 1) Every student had to conduct an analysis following the flow reported in Figure 1, which mainly consists of: 
o Model of Alpha process, highlighting the spontaneous process occurring and the meaning feedbacks related to is. 
o Model a possible “controlling solution”, meaning a solution that ignores the identified spontaneous process. To do so, the use of archetypes was advised [1]. 
o Explicit the main hypothesis (HP) done by the designer and how this relates to the complex dynamic of change. Starting with the basic HP for which “of the product is used, then it changes”. 
o Answer and explain the ten lenses of OeD, here listed. 
♣ Why is the product changing? (relation with the spontaneous process) 
♣ Who is changing the product? (agents of the spontaneous process) 
♣ Is the main actor making a change to reach a particular goal? (goal directedness) 
♣ What is changing in the product? (phenomenology of the process) 
♣ How much is the product changing? (phenomenology of the process) 
♣ How fast is the product changing? (phenomenology of the process) 
♣ Is the change reversible? (phenomenology of the process) 
♣ When is the change happening? (relation with the Life Cycle of the product) 
♣ Where is the change happening? (relation with the Business Model) 
♣ How many products can be produced in this way? (relation with the Business Model) 
o Describe and explain the lens “How”, which is divided in mechanisms, that is how is the change physically supported (i.e. by using a modular solution, by using a fragile material, etc.) and strategies, that is how commercially is the change supported (i.e. by producing a big number of standard products in form of DIY kit, by using digital technologies in co-creation processes, etc.). Highlighting relations with both the engineering background of the students and their entrepreneurial skills. 
o Model of Beta Process, highlighting if the newly designed system is working as anticipated (accordingly to the HP) or not. 
• (Task 2) Every student has to design a double-blind test in order to learn more about the spontaneous interaction between the actors and the product, in the real context of use. To do so, the strategies studied and described in Task 1 should be applied, in order to increase the intensity of the traces (working as feedbacks) left by the interaction itself. 

Figure 1: Open-ended Design, dynamic and learning process. 

Students applied practical Open-ended Design solutions, or second-order design solutions, to start a conversation (through design) with different stakeholders. Here, the voluntary (designed) imperfection of the system served as trigger for re-appropriations, which helped the designers in learning about the real interactions with the system itself. This experiment stresses the need for teaching system thinking skills for designers, focusing on the fundamental capabilities as anticipating possible scenarios and losing control on the designed object. Also, it stresses the importance of practical examples and strategies to achieve and support re-appropriation processes in real-life experiments. These strategies cannot be taught to students as “fixed realities” being highly related to the context, but can be introduced to them as inspirational and comparative tool. By doing that, the actual Open-ended Strategies developed by students became the expression of their creativity as designer, and served as tool to support intentional change. 

Short reference list 

1. William Braun. 2002. The System Archetypes. The Systems Modeling Workbook: 1–26. Retrieved from https://kumu.io/stw/systems-kele#systems-archetypes 
2. Hugh Dubberly and Paul Pangaro. 2015. Cybernetics and Design: Conversations for Action. Cybernetics and Human Knowing 22, 3: 73–82. 
3. Guido Hermans. 2015. Opening Up Design: Engaging the Layperson in the Design of Everyday Products. Umea University. 
4. Klaus Krippendorff. 2007. The Cybernetics of Design and the Design of Cybernetics. Kybernetes 36, 9/10: 1381–1392. https://doi.org/10.1108/03684920710827364 
5. Dabae Lee, Yeol Huh, Charles M. Reigeluth, Stephanie Bell, Emily J Summers, and Gail Dickinson. 2010. Project-Based Learning for the 21st Century: Skills for the Future. The Clearing House 83: 39–43. https://doi.org/10.1080/00098650903505415 
6. Ezio Manzini. 2012. ERROR-FRIENDLINESS How to deal with the future scarcest resource: the envionmental, social, economic security. Tha is, how to design resilient socio-technical systems. John Wiley: 56–61. 
7. Harold G. Nelson and Erik Stolterman. 2012. The design way: intentional change in an unpredictable world. London. 
8. Francesca Ostuzzi, Peter Conradie, Lieven De Couvreur, Jan Detand, and Jelle Saldien. 2016. The Role of Re-Appropriation in Open Design : A Case Study on How Openness in Higher Education for Industrial Design Engineering Can Trigger Global Discussions on the Theme of Urban Gardening. 17, 4. 
9. Francesca Ostuzzi, Lieven De Couvreur, Jan Detand, and Jelle Saldien. 2017. From Design for One to Open-ended Design . Experiments on understanding how to open- up contextual design solutions . In Design for Next. 


 

Mapping the invisible: Co-designing with taboos and illegal systems as systemic design materials.

Adrian Paulsen and Manuela Aguirre

Friday 12:00. Room A3.

co-designing
taboos
illegal
systems
workshop
 

This is a hands-on interactive workshop to work with taboos and illegal systems as reflective co-design materials. As systemic design practitioners, we’ve experienced that certain (powerful) stakeholders – during giga-mapping sessions – ask (or demand) that particular perspectives or areas are intentionally made invisible (or left out). Reasons vary. Sometimes it is to avoid governmental attention, sometimes it is because systemic components are illegal or would simply be embarrassing to share.

Giga-mapping systems (Sevaldson, 2011) inevitably exposes faults, weaknesses, power relations, and accountabilities. Sometimes these are centered around specific roles – sometime a product of the system as a whole. Sometimes these are formal – and sometimes not. When mapping is done rigorously, these systems are not ‘covered-up’ – but they illuminate powerful opportunity areas or leverage points. In any case, these factors require careful systemic navigation. As design moves deeper into both private and public sectors, the optimistic, open and empathic design approach is challenged.

That is why we are proposing to curate the conditions where these type of conversations can surface in a reflective, constructive, and confidential way. Building on our previous workshop at RSD3 (Aguirre & Paulsen, 2014) – where we used physical material properties to discuss how invisible relationships shape our social interactions – we will create tangible ways to map the invisible. As an outcome, we expect to co-create an instrumental and practical toolkit that participants can bring back to their own social systems (organizations like healthcare, education, public policies) and shed light on these sensitive issues through a systemic design approach.

Why is this relevant? We recognize – when mapping diverse perspectives in complex social systems – that certain perspectives influence what is represented and what is left out. The strengths of a systemic approach lies in co-creating robust, resilient, and synergic interventions that have an ‘appropriate fit’ in the social systems in which they are embedded (Banathy, 1996). Therefore, when things are ‘made invisible’ on purpose – this limits the potential impact of giga-mapping’s with regards to holistic understanding – which then in turn inevitably limits the abilities to co-design.

In order to facilitate this discussion, we will either bring sensitive cases from our own practice or – if people are willing and trust is enabled – we will facilitate an anonymous discussion that is relevant to the people in the room. We want to encourage a reflective space that allows for sharing stories, anecdotes, fears, and doubts between practitioners and researchers. In order to assure confidentiality and for trust to be established, a non-disclosure agreement will be provided and all electronics will be securely stored. Participants that join must know that this is work in progress and a prototype in its nature. Therefore we invite participants to come with an open mind, be critically experimental, and be prepared to co-create actionable spaces for reflection through co-designing with taboos and illegal systems as visible design materials. (Max 20 people)

Aguirre, M., & Paulsen, A. (2014). Using material properties to understand and shape relationships in public and social services. In B. Sevaldson & P. Jones (Eds.), RSD3, Third Symposium of Relating Systems Thinking to Design. Oslo, Norway: Oslo School of Architecture and Design, October 15-17, 2014. Oslo: Systemic Design Research Network. Retrieved from http://systemic-design.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Proceedings-Aguirre-Paulsen-RSD3_V2.pdf

Banathy, B. H. (1996). Designing social systems in a changing world. (R. L. Flood, Ed.). New York: Plenum Press.

Sevaldson, B. (2011). Giga-mapping: visualisation for complexity and systems thinking in design. In I. Koskinen, T. Härkäsalmi, R. Mazé, B. Matthews, & J.-J. Lee (Eds.), Nordes ’11, the 4th Nordic Design Research Conference. Helsinki, Finland: School of Art and Design, Aalto University, Helsinki, Finland.